In the 3rd Test between Pakistan and England in Sharjah, Captain Misbah ul Haq once again won the crucial toss and elected to bat first.
Pakistan went on to make 234 all out, with only Misbah standing out with 71. Anderson and Broad found movement and swing on this pitch resulting in success for them both. However England three spinners struggled to make an impact. It certainly was not the usual expected flat pitch, a paradise for batsmen.
England went on to make 306, with Taylor making an impressive 76. The spinners were on form with Shoaib Malik taking a career best 4/33 and Yasir Shah 3/99. England secured a lead of 72 runs.
Pakistan batted well in the 2nd innings making 355. Opener Hafeez making an incredible 151 runs, he was helped by England dropping him twice and missing a stumping. Although he said later it looked an easy pitch to make runs on, but it actually wasn’t.
Shoaib Malik surprisingly announced his retirement from Test cricket during this innings, at the end of day 3.
England were set a target of 284 to win the Test and draw the series. Many of the English commentators thought England had a chance to win.
On the evening of the 4th day Shoaib Malik caused England to slip to 46/2, first getting Moeen Ali LBW for 22 then bowling Bell for 0. It was looking an uphill struggle for England.
The first hour of the 5th day sealed their fate. The Pakistani spinners dominated, England just surrendered falling to 59/6. Root LBW 6, bowled Yasir Shah, Taylor caught for 2 off Z.Babar, Bairstow 0, LBW off Z.Babar, Patel golden duck LBW off Z.Babar.
An epic middle order collapse, 4 wickets for only 13 runs.
Only Cook showed some resistance with 63 runs before being stumped of Malik’s bowling.
England were finally skittled out for 156, Pakistan won the Test match by 127 runs.
Zulfiqar Babar 2/31, Yasir Shah 4/44 and Sohaib Malik 3/26. The Pakistani spinners took 17 wickets in the match.
Yasir Shah was the leading wicket taker of the series taking 15 wickets in just 2 Tests, as he was injured for the 1st Test.
As I commented before this series the key to success in UAE is ‘spin to win’.
It was disappointing to witness the Ashes winning England team giving up without a fight.
This Test once again brought back memories of the 2012 whitewash of England by Pakistan in UAE.
Pakistan have never lost a Test series in the desert fortress of UAE.
Also we have to remember the difficulties Pakistan spinners have faced with Hafeez’s and Saeed Ajmal’s bowling bans. Yet there is no shortage of quality spinners in Pakistan as this series has shown with Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar and Shoaib Malik.
A great all round performance by the Pakistan batsmen, seamers and spinners.
England’s seamers were excellent, their batsmen were prone to collapsing but their spinners under performed.
Congratulations to Misbah ul Haq and Pakistan for winning the Test series 2-0. Misbah stated at the presentation ceremony that he wanted more time to think about his future plans.
Also well played to England for their competitive cricket.
As the English bowlers keep reminding the Pakistan batsmen it will be a very different story in England next year on bouncy, swinging wickets.
Man of the Match: Mohammad Hafeez
Man of the Series: Yasir Shah
Pakistan are now placed number 2 in the ICC Test rankings.